Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finding Egypt

It seems I am on a constant quest of finding and learning about new and interesting cultures. Perhaps they are not new at all, possibly some of the oldest cultures, rather. Being immersed in this new, fast-paced, Western society is not always what it seems - for me anyway. As with anything there are pros and cons. And while I try my darndest to see things through rose-coloured glasses here, it's as though I'm always aspiring to be someplace else.

The first time this fascination with Egypt took flight was some months ago, in the winter. I had just moved to New York City. My new friend invited me for Middle Eastern food at a quaint, little restaurant in our neighborhood of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The moment we walked through that door, the sounds of Arabic music filled the air, Moroccan lanterns hung from the ceiling, and as the kind Egyptian waiter took our orders the feeling of ambiance was just enthralling. It was as if I had found something I was always looking for, but never knew it.

Pompey Pillar and Sphinx
And so it began - my obsession with the Middle East, and in particular, Egypt. From teaching myself the Arabic alphabet in hopes of learning the language one day, to buying all the Egyptian travel books I can afford, to youtubing videos on Cairo, to searching for the best Egyptian blogs. I'm not exactly certain why there is such a draw for me. Perhaps the liveliness of personalities, the beauty of the language, the emphasis put on family life. I suppose eventually I will find out.

Learning the Arabic alphabet
Arabic words
In all honesty, however, nothing can ever replace the real deal. And by that I mean I can obsess, and learn, and read all I want, but the best experiences come from people. And so I am grateful for those that have touched my life and helped me widen my view of the world and come to appreciate so many more wonderful things I would have never known.

And then someday I'll get there.

'Cairo - the City Victorious' by Max Rodenbeck .. a very good read and history of the city

Egyptian sites of interest:

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